It's giving intro-level philosophy course.
Years after leaving OpenAI on what was rumored to be poor terms, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has officially launched a new AI company. It's called xAI, and Musk says it was formed "to understand reality."
Yes, he really said that. And no, as far as we can tell, it doesn't mean anything.
"Announcing formation of @xAI to understand reality," Musk tweeted earlier today, announcing the firm. Setting the bar as reasonably as ever, we see.
The new venture's website offered little in the way of any clarification.
"Today we announce the formation of xAI," reads xAI's landing page. "The goal of xAI is to understand the true nature of the universe."
The site then went on to list who's involved in the project, a lineup that, per The Verge, includes researchers from DeepMind, Google Research, Microsoft, and other AI leaders. It also caveats that the AI outfit is a "separate company from X Corp" — the newer, Musk-minted name of the company formerly known as Twitter, Inc. — although it will "work closely with X (Twitter), Tesla, and other companies to make progress towards our mission."
As far as that "mission" of unlocking the secrets of our universe goes, however, there's no further explanation to be found. But that said, there maybe be some extra clues buried — where else — in Twitter replies.
"What are the most fundamental unanswered questions?" reads the official xAI account's first-ever tweet, to which Musk responded with a similarly freshman-year-philosophy-requirement-level question.
"And what are the most fundamental unknown questions?" the billionaire pondered. "Once you know the right question to ask, the answer is often the easy part, as my hero, Douglas Adams, would say."
Musk completed the tweet with a screenshot showing that the numbers that make up the venture's launch date, 7-12-23, add up to the number 42 — a shoutout to the aforementioned Adams' beloved novel, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
To be fair, Musk did tell Tucker Carlson back in April that he planned to make a "maximum truth-seeking AI," so it's not terribly surprising to see xAI, grand promises about reality-cracking and all, go to launch.
"An AI that cares about understanding the universe is unlikely to annihilate humans," Musk told the since-fired former Fox News host at the time, "because we are an interesting part of the universe."
Still, the project generally has the energy of the Elon Smokes meme. But, hey, there are a lot of bright minds involved — maybe, just maybe, they'll finally solve reality, or whatever it is they're trying to do.
More on Elon and AI: Elon Musk Says He's Building a "Maximum Truth-Seeking AI"
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